After a very tough year like 2020, many of us have spent more time in our homes than we ever did before. This pandemic has undoubtedly changed the face of how we design and build the spaces we call home.

As you probably may know, the home design + decor trends for the year aren’t usually based or forecasted on increasing functionality in the home. Now that we’ve been forced into it, magical things are happening to make your home the happiest place.

Let’s take a look at some of the predicted home design + decor trends for 2021.

Less Open Floor Plans

Who knew that the ideal home floor plans would dramatically change due to a global pandemic? Prior to the pandemic, open floor plans were ideal.

Specifically, in older homes, the main objective has been to join rooms together to create a communal living space. These exposed spaces are great for hosting & entertaining guests. Here at Stearns, we believe it’s time to reevaluate the open concept. Due to families working/schooling from home into the foreseeable future, everyone could use a bit more privacy and perhaps more space of their own.

The open concept is here to stay,  but there are so many other creative ways to divide space too!  Some options are reconfiguring furniture, sliding barn doors, french doors, glass doors, and bookshelves as dividers.

Floating Shelves

Floating shelf ideas are a simple yet functional way to remix your space. This allows them to integrate into your existing design or become a focal point. They are versatile and perfect for displaying art or small plants.

Another popular kitchen trend that is here to stay is a single floating shelf above the stove and open shelving mixed with traditional cabinets.

Backyard Entertaining

Are you one of those people who never utilized your yard space in the past, but now have realized how valuable it is in terms of space and air?

If you’d like to spend time with your friends and family, outside is the best option. According to Houzz, pergolas are the new popular feature for outdoor spaces. The simple structures are relatively affordable and offer you shade + sunshine. Outdoor kitchens are always a nice bonus when entertaining guests as well.

This has been a difficult and challenging time for everyone,  but one positive outlook from this is the growth of gardeners. The gardening industry itself has had a huge boost in revenue throughout the pandemic. Many are bringing the outdoors inside with some mood-boosting plants. Plants offer benefits such as lower stress levels, improved mood, and restores mental energy.

Matching Countertops + Backsplash

As we move from the backyard to the kitchen, let’s talk about countertops and backsplash design.

While choosing a backsplash for your kitchen, you cannot go wrong with a traditional subway tile. This year we will see much more backsplash that matches the countertop for a clean, modern, & seamless look.

One added bonus to this trend is no grout cleaning. Who doesn’t want less cleaning??


We are going to be seeing more Scandinavian-inspired ideas for 2021. My Domaine explains the factors for this style here. Famous for their simplicity and beauty, they have a pure style that is all about warm functionality, clean lines, craftsmanship, and understated elegance.

The use of light is extremely important, and many Scandinavian homes are characterized by the use of earthy muted tones and honest materials.

Creative Storage

We wrote a whole blog on storage last year, and you can see that linked here. Storage can be tricky when designing a home and if it isn’t done correctly, you’ll end up with tons of wasted and unused space. It can pose an enormous challenge when you’re limited by small spaces.

One of our goals as a company is to take our client’s challenges in their home to create custom rooms to fit their individual needs.

Different Tile Shapes

It’s time to step out of the standard rectangular subway tile. Squares, diamonds, hexagons, and all sorts of other shapes are taking over.

Done in a larger size and in a more neutral color makes them both interesting and versatile. If you are going to use a subway tile, consider installing it vertically instead of horizontally.

Natural Light

We say this every year because we believe in bringing the outside into your home. Our goal at Stearns is to ensure a seamless transition between nature and residential design. This is what the largest effect can be felt. Our homes are not only the place we spend most of our time but rather a sanctuary where we involuntarily seek refuge and restoration.

In order to better articulate this vital aspect and crossover of nature + space,  we decided to create our own design category and call it Transitions.

Natural light exposure can influence how we feel at home, both consciously and subconsciously. It’s an easy way to create a brighter, happier home.


We’d love to discuss your remodeling projects and ideas.  Let us help get you started and set up a free consultation today!